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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   27 July 1875

Royal Gardens Kew

July 27/75.

My dear Darwin

I have sinned & done amiss in never yet thanking you for your splendid book on Insectivorous plants.1 What a vast amount of labor it has entailed— I had no idea that you had gone so deep into the Chemistry of the matter. I think that even Dyer2 is now convinced that the plants digest. The coming Darwin will discover that plants “read, mark & learn” too.

I was greatly interested in Utricularia, which is a lovely piece of work3

I have had a lot of Nepenthes waiting for study for 2 months, but have been so busy getting over arrears, & getting Dyer into work, that I have not touched them yet.4 As it is I am not half through the arrears of correspondence.

I am greatly tempted to go to Down on Saturday if you should be disengaged.5

I ought to go to Boulogne where Harriet & the younger children are, but I don’t want to go so far for a Sunday.6

Your Willy7 is coming to me on Saturday 14th.—

Shall you be disengaged can you give me a bed on Saturday.

I return the L. S. paper8

Ever yr affec | J D Hooker.


Hooker’s name is on the presentation list for Insectivorous plants (Appendix IV). Hooker alludes to 2 Chronicles 6: 37: ‘We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly’.
William Turner Thiselton-Dyer.
CD discussed Utricularia (bladderwort) in Insectivorous plants, pp. 395–444.
Hooker had started investigating the digestive powers of Nepenthes (the tropical pitcher-plant) in 1873 (see Correspondence vol. 21, letter from J. D. Hooker, 20 October 1873). Thiselton-Dyer had been appointed assistant director at Kew in June 1875 (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 20 June 1875 and n. 2).
Hooker visited Down on Saturday 31 July 1875 (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [30 July 1875]).
Harriet Anne Hooker, Brian Harvey Hodgson Hooker, and Reginald Hawthorn Hooker. Boulogne-sur-Mer is a city in northern France on the English Channel.
William Erasmus Darwin.
CD had asked Hooker to sign a statement supporting Francis Darwin’s election to the Linnean Society (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 July 1875).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.


His appreciation of Insectivorous plants, especially Utricularia section.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 104: 33–4
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10095,” accessed on 23 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23